internet sleep
October 21, 2014

Does The Internet Ever Sleep? In Some Parts Of The World, It Does

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

In the US, we take for granted that the Internet will be available any time we want to log on and surf on over to our favorite shopping or gaming experiences. A team of researchers, looking into how big the Internet has grown, found that in some places, the Internet "sleeps," almost like a living person.

The research team, led by John Heidemann of the University of Southern California’s (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI), suggests their findings will be important in developing better systems to measure and track Internet outages, such as the one that struck New York after Hurricane Sandy. Giving a greater understanding of how the Internet sleeps to scientists and policymakers will help to end the confusion between a sleeping Internet and an Internet outage. The study findings will be presented at the 2014 ACM Internet Measurements Conference.

[ Watch the Video: Internet Sleeps ]

"The Internet is important in our lives and businesses, from streaming movies to buying online. Measuring network outages is a first step to improving Internet reliability," said Heidemann.

For some people, such as those with broadband access in the US and Europe, the Internet is always available. In other areas, such as Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, an individual's access to the Internet varies over the course of a day.

The results show a correlation between strong nighttime Internet access and lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Investopedia defines GDP as "the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period…[including] all private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports." Economists use the GDP to gauge the economic health of a particular country in a particular year. Basically, this correlation means that the richer a country is, the more likely that the Internet in that country will be available 24/7.

"This work is one of the first to explore how networking policies affect how the network is used," Heidemann said in a recent statement.

Currently, there are approximately 4 billion IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4, the current protocol that runs the Internet) addresses. The team pinged around 3.7 million address blocks, representing approximately 950 million addresses, every 11 minutes for two months in an effort to define daily use patterns.

"This data helps us establish a baseline for the Internet — to understand how it functions, so that we have a better idea of how resilient it is as a whole, and can spot problems quicker," Heidemann said.

The team, which included USC's Lin Quan and Yuri Pradkin, plans to continue their work, hoping that the results will help to inform future Internet operations.

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